It began with a marijuana deal in the parking lot of a Chester County Dunkin' Donuts, authorities said, and ended — only nine minutes later — with 15-year-old Jayson Ortiz-Cameron on the ground, dying from a gunshot wound.
As investigators continued to search for the person who pulled the trigger, the Chester County District Attorney's Office presented a narrative Thursday afternoon of what it believes occurred on a quiet Phoenixville street during those nine minutes. The information, authorities said, was pieced together from witnesses and surveillance video.
"This was not a random act of violence," Phoenixville Police Chief Thomas Sjostrom said. "We will continue to work diligently to uncover all of the case facts and evidence in order to determine the identity of the shooter."
On Wednesday evening, a group that included Ortiz-Cameron allegedly planned to commit a robbery during a marijuana deal in the back parking lot of the Dunkin' Donuts on the 200 block of Nutt Road, authorities said. It was not clear whom the group planned to rob.
Around 7:15 p.m., a car containing the alleged shooter and other males was seen on surveillance video entering the parking lot, circling the store, then backing into a spot in the back of the lot, according to authorities.
Having already set up the deal with occupants of the other car, Ortiz-Cameron and his companions, who had arrived earlier in a car, approached the vehicle containing the alleged shooter, authorities said. A conversation between the two groups quickly escalated to a confrontation.
As more individuals joined in the dispute, one male from the car allegedly pulled out a silver handgun and shot Ortiz-Cameron, who collapsed, according to authorities. The group of males that included the alleged shooter then drove away, exiting onto Milligan Street around 7:24, authorities said.
Phoenixville police arrived on the scene in response to 911 calls and said Ortiz-Cameron was pronounced dead shortly after.
Chester County detectives and Phoenixville police are investigating the homicide and asked anyone with information to come forward.
Authorities said they were seeking the men in the fleeing vehicle, which contained three to four people, including a black male driver with dreadlocks or braids and a white male passenger in the front seat. Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan urged those men to come forward, noting that some may be treated as witnesses, not defendants, if they reach out to his office quickly.
"The suspects were engaged with this victim over a petty drug deal," Hogan said. "Now a young man is dead and the suspects are fugitives, knowing that one of them is a killer. … It is senseless."
Anyone with information is asked to contact Chester County Detective Joe Walton at 610-344-6866 or Phoenixville Detective Pat Mark at 610-933-1180.
School Superintendent Alan D. Fegley said earlier Thursday that he had received word of Ortiz-Cameron's death from his mother. The boy's family could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.
"It is with heavy hearts that we share she confirmed his passing," Fegley said Thursday morning in a statement on the school district's Facebook page. "As we attempt to come to grips with the loss of this young life, we extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of this young man."